The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Surprise over Church abuse inquiry head's three months abroad

Thu 04 Aug 2016
By Alex Williams

The judge leading an inquiry into the extent the Church and other UK institutions failed to protect children from sexual abuse spent three months of her first year in the position abroad.

In addition to an annual leave entitlement of 30 days, Dame Lowell Goddard also spent 44 working days in Australia and New Zealand, her home country.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse told Premier Dame Goddard spent a portion of her time away from the UK learning from the experiences of the Australian royal commission on child abuse.

She added: "The chair spent 44 working days in New Zealand and Australia on inquiry business in the first financial year of the inquiry.

"In addition, she is entitled to 30 days' annual leave. We do not comment on where people working for the inquiry spend their annual leave.

"The chair is always on call and in direct contact with the inquiry team."

Dame Goddard is the third person chosen by the-then home secretary Theresa May after two people resigned surrounding concerns over their links to the establishment.

Former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, Jim Gamble, told Premier he thought it was "remarkable" Dame Lowell had spent so much time abroad.

Mr Gamble suggests that, as someone from Australasia, Dame Goddard should already have a grasp over the work of the Australia royal commission.

He went on to say: "This is the most significant inquiry into this area there has ever been and I'm somewhat surprised that Justice Goddard has not spent more time on the ground in the UK."

Dame Goddard receives a salary of £360,000 - which compares to the Prime Minister's salary of £143,462 - as well as annual accommodation and utilities allowances totally £253,000.

Acting chairman of the Minister & Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors group, Phil Johnson, told Premier: "The inquiry has already spent more than a year without hearing any evidence and we heard last week that hearings on the Anglican church would not take place until late 2017.

"The immediate imperative should be speeding up its work at home."

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